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Chicago Tribune Sports Writer Comes Out To Slam NFL's Homophobia

By Emma G. Gallegos in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 10, 2016 10:07PM

Chris Hine (Twitter)
A Chicago Tribune sportswriter has come out of the closet in order to slam the NFL for its lingering homophobia.

Chris Hine, who covers the Blackhawks for the Tribune, has been out to family and friends, but he decided to put his sexuality front and center in an op-ed that he penned for the Tribune. That last straw was hearing that former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple had been asked during an interview with the Atlanta Falcons, "Do you like men?" Apple said the assistant coach Marquand Manuel then responded, "If you're going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that's how it is around here, you're going to have to get used to it."

Michael Sam—the only player to ever get drafted into the NFL as an openly gay man before he went to play for the Canadian Football League—was appalled:

Hine writes that he doesn't like the insinuation that being gay or having to be around gay people is a "burden":

If you read between the lines, Manuel is essentially saying, "Hey, if we pick you, you're going to live in Atlanta and you might be out somewhere and get hit on by a gay guy. You're OK with that, right? But you're also not going to go home with him, right?"

Hine points out that this line of thinking in the NFL can lead to devastating or even deadly consequences. Recently, three high school seniors in a Philly suburb were charged with hazing a freshman on "No Gay Thursday" by violating him with a broom handle (they also would put their genitals on each others' heads because it didn't "count" as gay on Thursdays).

Hine said it took him until he was 20 to come out until himself, but he says in the NFL, which currently has no publicly-out players, it would be much harder:

It's already hard enough for a gay athlete to accept himself, and I had hope after Sam came out that a sea change would come over the NFL and it gradually would open its arms to gay players. But that day is still off in the distance.

The Tribune went for a bold headline on the front page of the sports section to accompany the piece:

Thankfully, it appears that Hine has received nothing but praise for his column:

And one reader pointed out that maybe the league is asking the wrong questions: